Glaucoma is a condition that damages the optic nerves in the eyes. This worsens over time and damages the vision of the eyes. Glaucoma is caused by an abnormally high pressure in the eyes called as Intra Ocular Pressure(IOP).
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for the people aged over 60 years. It is more common in old aged people although it can occur in any age. It occurs gradually over the time with no warning signs. Unless it is at advanced stage, you cannot notice a change in vision. Vision loss due to glaucoma cannot be recovered. It is very important to do regular eye checkups that include measurement of your eye pressure so as to do early diagnosis and can be treated properly. If it is diagnosed at early stage then vision loss can be prevented or slowed. And in case of condition in advanced stage of glaucoma you will be need the treatment for lifetime. Therefore, integrative healthcare by use of Ayurveda and other Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) is found to be effective in preventing glaucoma or slowing the vision loss process in the later stage.
Causes of Glaucoma
Glaucoma is the result of damage to the optic nerve. The aqueous humor which is the fluid inside your eyes and usually flows like a mesh-like channel. Due to some underlying reasons, if this channel gets blocked or if the eyes if producing too much fluid, the liquid builds up. This increases the intra ocular pressure in the eye and causes glaucoma gradually over the time.
The secondary or less common causes of glaucoma could be injury to the eye (blunt or chemical), severe eye infection, inflammatory reasons and blocked blood vessels inside your eyes. Glaucoma usually affect both eyes, but it may be worse in one than the other.
Types of Glaucoma
The trabecular meshwork is partially blocked but the drainage angle formed by the cornea and iris remains open. This causes the increase in the intra ocular pressure in the eyes and the pressure damages the optic nerve and there is loss of vision.
Angle-closure glaucoma is also called as closed-angle glaucoma. This occurs when the iris bulges forward to narrow or block the drainage angel formed by the cornea and iris. Therefore, the fluid can’t circulate through the eyes and the intra ocular pressure in the eyes increases. Narrow drainage angles in some people also puts them at higher risk of angle-closure glaucoma.
In normal-tension glaucoma there is optic nerve damage even though the intra ocular pressure in the eyes is within the normal range. No one knows the exact reason for this type of condition. It might is due to sensitive optic nerve or less blood supplied to the optic nerve due to some underlying reasons. The limited blood flow may be due to a health condition in which there is fats deposition in the arteries called as atherosclerosis or any other health condition that directly or indirectly impairs the circulation the eye. In this case you may not have significant amount of vision. The first sign is often the loss of your side vision.
Glaucoma in children
In rare cases, infants or children could also develop glaucoma. It can be congenital or develop in the first few years of life. The optic nerve damage may be caused by drainage blockages or an underlying medical condition.
In pigmentary glaucoma, pigment granules from the iris build up in the drainage channels which cause slowing or blocking fluid existing your eye. This increases the intra ocular pressure
Symptoms of Glaucoma
- Seeing halos around lights
- Vision loss
- Redness in your eye
- Haziness in eyes
- Eye pain
- Irritability in the eye
- Upset stomach or vomiting
Risk Factors of Glaucoma
- Having high intraocular pressure
- Age over 60 years
- Having a family history of glaucoma
- In medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sickle cell anemia.
- Having nearsightedness or farsightedness
- Having had an eye injury or eye surgery
- On corticosteroid medications for a long time
Some self-care steps to detect glaucoma in its early stages are as follows:
- Do regular dilated eye examination by asking your doctor
- Know your family medical history related to eye
- Exercise regularly and safely
- Take prescribed eye drops regularly
- Wear eye protection
Can Ayurveda treat glaucoma?
Ayurveda can prevent glaucoma as well as treat glaucoma by slowing the vision loss process by the use of ayurvedic medicines and therapies.
Diet which should be included as per Ayurveda for glaucoma patient
- Corn, rye, barley, millet and buckwheat
- Radishes, cabbage, red beets, turnips, pepper, spinach , carrots, onion, peas and asparagus
- Pears, apple, mango, apricots, peaches, lemon, blueberries and dried fruit
- Amla, haritki and baheda.
Diet which should be strictly avoided as per Ayurveda for glaucoma patient
- Potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, zucchini and okra
- Pineapples, watermelons, oranges, grapes, avocado, figs and kiwi
Panchakarma Therapy as per Ayurveda for Glaucoma patient
Netra Tarpana– It is the procedure of holding the ghee around the eye with the help of special wells made of dough. Netra Tarpana helps to strengthen the optic nerves and eliminates pain.
Therefore, Practicing integrative medicine and therapy helps preventing glaucoma and slows down vision loss. Consult your doctor before beginning any procedure or therapy.